2 Peter 1:5-8 “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
As I meditated on today’s verse, Matthew 3:8 seemed to be a good summary for these four verses: “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.” You might have immediately thought, “How can these six words summarize these four verses?” These four verses provide a progression that leads to real transformation. To show this I will do an enhanced paraphrase of these four verses. Watch carefully how each verse prepares the groundwork for the next verse.
“Make every effort to add to your faith goodness.” Goodness calls you to do something – not just to read or hear the Word, but to act on it. “And to goodness, knowledge.” God does not call you to live your Christian life in stagnation, but to continually grow in knowledge. Your growth in God should whet your appetite for more of God. It is easy for a Christian to falter at this point. You are gaining more knowledge of the Word, so what could be better? The better is to not just hear the Word, but to allow God to take you to a deeper level of His life in you. “And to knowledge, self-control.” Each facet of knowledge creates the opportunity for God to transform your “old man.” The old man is saturated in the sin Paul described in Romans 7:14: “We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin.” Growing in knowledge gives God the opportunity to transform areas of sin in your life in order to conform to the Word of God. Self-control represents not just talking about the Word but acting on it! “And to self-control, perseverance.” Peter says that self-control leads to perseverance because it causes you to draw closer to God in relationship and trust. You might describe it like riding a roller coaster. After the first hill you want off, but by persevering you experience the joy and excitement of the roller coaster. The same is true in your perseverance with God. Keeping your eyes and heart on Jesus allows each step of faith to become easier, just like being on a roller coaster. “And to perseverance, godliness.” Godliness defines the result of this process of becoming like Christ. Will you persevere by allowing God to produce His life in you? “And to godliness, brotherly kindness.” The final product is brotherly kindness or a natural outpouring of God’s love to others through you. 1 Corinthian 13:13 says, “But the greatest of these is love.” Love is the distinctive that God longs for in every Christian’s life. Love points to Christ and allows God to be revealed in His work in you.
1 Peter 5:8 says, “For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Your “old man” works overtime to keep you from becoming effective and productive for Christ. By persevering you produce the fruit talked about in Matthew 3:8. When you allow God to take you to a point of repentance, the Holy Spirit can more easily bear fruit in your life, thus taking you back to Matthew 3:8, “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.”
John 15:1-2 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in Me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.”
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